Recently I’ve been in a dialogue with a company who wanted me to do an unpayed internship with them. Knowing that it would potentially break down negotiations, I decided to demand a payed project employment if I was to work with them. The outcome was negative and that stung – a whole lot.
Because I really wanted to do the project. It sounded great. But in the end the terms just wasn’t mutually beneficial enough for me. In their eyes the experience I would get would be worth a lot, and it is, but not at all as much as what they would be getting out of my full-time dedication to their cause (while not having energy to apply for something that actually pays).
I know that entrepreneurs like Richard Branson often advice people in my situation to jump in; to do the unpayed internship and show your worth through hard work and dedication. But in this instance I won’t follow the advice. Here is why.
At the beginning they’d told me that it could lead to steady employment like it did for one of their colleagues who is a friend of mine. That is good and all but how do I know if that is really a likely outcome right now? Well I sort of got my answer through making that demand. They cannot afford another employee at the present moment in time.
I could argue with myself about it all day long, fact is that doing unpayed internships will always be a chance; you won’t know if the risk was worth it unless you do it.
So why didn’t I?
Well, I am not really used to setting a lot of demands, and I know that you won’t be successful in life if you are a people-pleaser like I’ve been throughout most of mine.
So I rejected doing an internship, not because of the lack of money, but to make a stand and because it would be quite difficult for me to do a marketing survey (which is what they wanted me to do) if I didn’t feel like a part of the home team.
In this situation no one got what they wanted and that sucks.
But I think that it’s some times best if no one gets what they want, especially if one part would otherwise have much more to gain than the other would.
This is the reason why I don’t believe in things like “open” relationships. Of course the opposite could be true, but I think that they’ll most often end with one part having much more success outside of the relationship while the other part will be left hurt and jealous.
It’s also the reason why I don’t believe in the “friend-zone” that I’ve been talking too much about lately. Guys stuck there are usually people-pleasers who don’t know their own worth. I recently asked someone out who then wanted to be “just friends”. So I get to be your emotional tampon AND be considered asexual at the same time? Wow, lucky me!
No seriously, I do have female friends, don’t get me wrong. One of whom have helped me a lot in becoming a better and more attractive man. Her and I are slowly moving towards becoming something like brother and sister, but the key thing is that I am not allowing myself to be taken advantage of.
I have another female friend who I hang out with because of the intellectual stimulation that I get from her company. I make it sound so mechanical, I know, but again, the friendship is possible because we give and take in equal measures (and in this case, because I am not attracted to her at all).
So where I am at right now in my life, I think that its a good idea to be setting a lot more demands towards other people. If you don’t do that, some day you might find yourself doing a job you don’t like at all and with unfulfilling personal relationships, especially with significant others.
I think there is some truth to women testing men by seeing how much they can get away with. Not only will she eventually loose attraction towards you if you let her make all of the decisions single-handedly, you might end up with a life you never wanted.
For example, I’ve seen my share of men being coerced into having children because their lady would otherwise have left them. Their ladies got their priorities right, because things like having children should be a deal-breaker, but also for those of us who don’t want them.
So I guess what I am saying here is that setting demands with other people and being ready for the rejection that might follow is a very important skill to cultivate. At least then you’ll be a lot less likely to find yourself stuck in an unsatisfying situation at the job or with someone who’ll “surely” give you a chance SOME TIME if only you please them long enough (yeah right).
Of course, being able to set fair demands is a whole other story.